Now That Your A Manager…

[Patsy Donovan, Red Sox manager (baseball)] (LOC)
Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

There’s an interesting article by Meghan Casserly in Forbes magazine about being a first time manager that I wish I had read about 25 years ago.

Your a new Manager.  You’ve worked hard and it has finally paid off.  The career ladder works.  But, now what?  The article looks at some of the most common questions and asked a team of experts.

Here are the questions.
How friendly should you be with your team?
Is it better to delegate or be a hands-on boss?
Is honesty always the best policy, especially when managing up?
How should you decide on your replacement?

Be Friendly – But Not A Friend.

Being respected is more important than being liked by your employees.  Everyone wants to work with friendly people but if you become everyone’s (or worse, just a few employees) friend, eventually they will start to take advantage of that relationship.  I’ve seen teams, including the manager, treat each other completely unprofessional, rude and a few other things that I’m pretty sure would have broken at least one personnel rule no matter where you work.  When I brought in the manger and staff, they all said the same thing.  It’s OK, were friends.  What a nightmare to change that mindset.

Manage 360.
Just because your now the ‘man’ or ‘woman’ doesn’t mean you stop being an employee.  Keep in mind, what goes around comes around.  Make sure you communicate not only with your employees but also your boss.  You and your team may be getting a lot done, but if it’s the wrong stuff it won’t matter to your boss.  Set up regular meetings to keep your boss updated and provide them an opportunity for feedback.

Share The Credit, Keep The Blame.
If the project is a success, then ‘WE’ did it or ‘THEY’ did it.  If it fails or doesn’t meet expectations, then ‘I’ did it.  Show your staff loyalty and they will repay it many times over.  Do you want to work with someone who has your back or with someone who is looking to blame everyone else.  Don’t be afraid your boss will think you had nothing to do with the projects success.  They’ll know or if there is doubt, you could tell them another time.

Communication and Transparency.
Communicate as often as you can.  Set up a schedule if necessary and make it a priority to communicate.  I have rarely heard anyone complain of receiving too much information.  Be honest with your employees, they deserve it.  Whether it’s good news or bad, let them know what is going on.  You especially need to let your boss know of any bad news right away.  You may be afraid they will not take it well, but trust me, they will thank you once they realize you probably just saved their butt.

Hire The Best.
You know the knowledge and skill level of the employees, choose the best – not your friends.  There is nothing wrong with hiring or recruiting the best people.  Don’t knowing hire just some strong people and other ‘so – so’ people.  As a whole your team will suffer and so will you.  Don’t be afraid to hire people who you think are smarter or better at a certain skill than you.  It’s not a sign of weakness but of wisdom.   Don’t Be The Boss.  While you technically may be the boss, others will want to work with you more if you don’t act like a boss but someone who works with others and is a leader.

So what do you think?  Are you ready to be a manager?

For more details read the article Congratulations! You’re a Manager … Now What?